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External Memory Having An Authenticating Processor And Method Of Operating Same - Patent 5070479

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United States Patent: 5070479


































 
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	United States Patent 
	5,070,479



 Nakagawa
 

 
December 3, 1991




 External memory having an authenticating processor and method of
     operating same



Abstract

A system for determining a truth comprises a main unit which is employed
     together with an external memory, for example, ROM cartridge, floppy disk
     or the like. The main unit is operated following a program contained in
     the external memory. In the external memory and the main unit, the same
     semiconductor devices, for example, microprocessors are incorporated
     respectively, and the former device acts as a key device and the latter
     device acts as a lock device. The key device and the lock device are
     synchronized with each other, executing the same arithmetic operation
     following the same program. The results of this operation are exchanged
     with each other, and the two devices compare the result of operation by
     their own with the result of operation by the other, respectively. If the
     both coincide, software is determined to be true and the main unit is
     allowed to operate, but if not coincide, software is determined to be
     false and the main unit is left reset intact. Thereby, processing in the
     information processing apparatus is disabled when the software contained
     in the external memory is not true.


 
Inventors: 
 Nakagawa; Katsuya (Kusatsu, JP) 
 Assignee:


Nintendo Company Limited
 (Kyoto, 
JP)




  
[*] Notice: 
  The portion of the term of this patent subsequent to January 24, 2006
 has been disclaimed.

Appl. No.:
                    
 07/297,105
  
Filed:
                      
  January 13, 1989

 Related U.S. Patent Documents   
 

Application NumberFiling DatePatent NumberIssue Date
 812929Dec., 19854799635
 

 
Foreign Application Priority Data   
 

Jun 24, 1985
[JP]
60-138699

Jun 28, 1985
[JP]
60-143026



 



  
Current U.S. Class:
  714/11  ; 380/251; 705/55
  
Current International Class: 
  A63F 13/02&nbsp(20060101); G06F 21/00&nbsp(20060101); G11B 023/28&nbsp()
  
Field of Search: 
  
  







 364/2MSFile,9MSFile 380/3,4,5 235/380,375,382
  

References Cited  [Referenced By]
U.S. Patent Documents
 
 
 
4193131
March 1980
Lennon et al.

4218738
August 1980
Matyas et al.

4310720
January 1982
Check, Jr.

4459655
July 1984
Willemin

4471216
September 1984
Herve

4497038
January 1985
Diepold-Scharnitzky

4523297
June 1985
Ugon et al.

4652990
March 1987
Pailen et al.

4683553
July 1987
Mollier

4723121
February 1988
van den Boom et al.

4755799
July 1988
Romano

4757468
July 1988
Domenik et al.

4862156
August 1989
Westberg et al.



 Foreign Patent Documents
 
 
 
53-17849
Jun., 1978
JP



   Primary Examiner:  Hecker; Stuart N.


  Assistant Examiner:  Rudolph; Rebecca L.


  Attorney, Agent or Firm: Nixon & Vanderhye



Parent Case Text



This is a divisional application of application Ser. No. 812,929, filed
     Dec. 23, 1985, now U.S. Pat. No. 4,799,635.

Claims  

What is claimed is:

1.  An external memory unit for removable connection to a main video game data processor unit having a video game processing means for executing videographics programs stored
in said external memory unit, said video game processing means being capable of being reset, and a dedicated authenticating processing means for executing a first predetermined authenticating program to form an information processing apparatus, said
external memory unit comprising:


means for storing a videographics program that is to be executed by said video game processing means;


external authenticating processing means for operating in accordance with a second predetermined authenticating program when said memory unit is connected to the video game data processor unit for verifying that said videographics program stored
in said means for storing is authorized for execution by said video game processing means;


means, coupled to said external authenticating processing means and said means for storing, for connecting said external memory unit to said video game data processor unit;  and


wherein said external authenticating processor means includes data transfer means coupled to said means for connecting for transferring data related to the results of the execution of said second authenticating program to said dedicated
authenticating processing means, whereby the video game processor means in said main video game processor unit is reset unless the results of the execution of the second authenticating program exhibit a predetermined relationship with the results of the
first predetermined authenticating program.


2.  An external memory in accordance with claim 1, wherein said external authenticating processing means includes clock signal input means, coupled to said means for connecting, for receiving clock signals from said main video game data processor
unit, wherein said external authenticating processing means further includes means responsive to said clock signal input means for executing a plurality of instructions in response to each received clock signal.


3.  An external memory according to claim 2, wherein said means responsive to said clock signal input means includes frequency divider means for generating a plurality of timing signals each of which initiates the performance of a predetermined
processing operation.


4.  An external memory according to claim 3, wherein said external authenticating processing means includes means responsive to said plurality of timing signals for receiving data from said dedicated authenticating processing means in response to
a first timing signal, for performing predetermined arithmetic operations in response to a second timing signal and for transferring data to said dedicated authenticating processing means in response to a third timing signal.


5.  An external memory according to claim 1, wherein said data transfer means further includes input pin means, coupled to said means for connecting, for receiving data related to the results of the execution of said first predetermined
authenticating program from said dedicated authenticating processing means and output pin means, coupled to said means for connecting, for transferring data related to the results of the execution of said second predetermined authenticating program to
said dedicated authenticating processing means.


6.  An external memory according to claim 5, wherein said data transfer means further includes reset pin means for receiving a reset related signal from said dedicated authenticating processing means, said external authenticating processing means
including means responsive to said reset related signal for maintaining a reset state or releasing the reset state depending upon the state of the reset related signal.


7.  An external memory according to claim 6, wherein said external authenticating processing means includes means responsive to said reset related signal from said dedicated authenticating processing means for releasing its reset state and for
synchronizing its operation with the operation of the dedicated authenticating processing means.


8.  An external memory according to claim 1, wherein said external authenticating processing means includes means responsive to a clock signal received from said main video game data processor unit for synchronizing its operations with
predetermined operations performed by said dedicated authenticating processing means.


9.  An external memory according to claim 1, wherein said external authenticating processing means includes a terminal having a predetermined voltage coupled thereto and further includes means responsive to detecting said predetermined voltage
for determining the processing operations to be performed by said external authenticating processing means.


10.  An external memory according to claim 1, wherein said external authenticating processing means includes means for generating at least one random number in accordance with a predetermined function.


11.  An external memory according to claim 10, wherein said means for generating at least one random number includes memory means for storing data representing random numbers and means for reading out at least one random number in accordance with
a predetermined function.


12.  An external memory according to claim 10, wherein said external authenticating processing means further includes: means for outputting said at least one random number and transferring said at least one random number to said dedicated
authenticating processing means via said means for transferring, means for receiving data generated by said dedicated authenticating processing means via said means for transferring;  and means for performing predetermined processing operations on said
data generated by said dedicated authenticating processing means.


13.  An external memory according to claim 12, wherein said predetermined processing operations performed by said external authenticating processing means are performed in time coincidence with corresponding processing operations performed in
said dedicated authenticating processing means.


14.  An external memory according to claim 12 wherein said external authenticating processing means further includes means for outputting the results of said predetermined processing operations and for transferring the results to said dedicated
authenticating processing means.


15.  An external memory according to claim 14, wherein said external authenticating processing means further includes means for receiving results of corresponding processing operations performed by said dedicated authenticating processing means.


16.  An external memory according to claim 15, wherein said external authenticating processing means further includes means for comparing the results generated by said dedicated authenticating processing means with the results generated by said
external authenticating processing means.


17.  An external memory according to claim 16 wherein said external authenticating processing means further includes means, responsive to the detection of coincidence between the results generated by said external authenticating processing means
and said dedicated authenticating processing means, for selecting at least a further arithmetic operation to be performed.


18.  An external memory according to claim 17, further including means for storing indicia representing n arithmetic operations, where n is a positive integer, said means for selecting including, means for generating at least a first number and
at least a second number, said at least a first number being used to select an arithmetic operation to be performed and said at least a second number being used to define variable values for said selected arithmetic operation.


19.  An external memory according to claim 17, wherein said external authenticating processing means includes means for performing said further arithmetic operation and for outputting a result.


20.  An external memory according to claim 19, wherein said further arithmetic operation performed by said external authenticating processing means is performed in time coincidence with a corresponding further arithmetic operation performed by
said dedicated authenticating processing means.


21.  An external memory according to claim 19, further including means for transferring the results of said further arithmetic operation to said dedicated authenticating processing means and for receiving the results of a corresponding further
arithmetic operation from said dedicated authenticating processing means.


22.  An external memory according to claim 21, wherein said external authenticating processing means further includes means for comparing the results of the further arithmetic operations performed by said external authenticating processing means
and by said dedicated authenticating processor means.


23.  An external memory according to claim 17, wherein said external authenticating processing means further includes means for repetitively performing further arithmetic operations.


24.  An external memory according to claim 23, wherein said means for repetitively performing further arithmetic operations executes further arithmetic operations during the time period that said video game processing means executes said
videographics program.


25.  An external memory according to claim 22, wherein said external authenticating processing means includes means responsive to said means for comparing the results of the further arithmetic operations to prevent access to said means for
storing a videographics program when the results do not coincide.


26.  An external memory according to claim 23, further includes means for counting, and wherein said means for repetitively performing said further arithmetic operations continues performing further arithmetic operations until said means for
counting reaches a predetermined value.


27.  An external memory system for removable connection to a main data processor unit having a video game processor for executing video game programs stored in said external memory unit, said video game processor being capable of being reset, and
a separate authenticating processor for executing a first predetermined authenticating program, said external memory system comprising:


an external memory for storing a videographics program that is to be executed by said video game processor associated with said main data processor unit;


an external authenticating processor for executing a second predetermined authenticating program when said external memory system is connected to the main data processor unit for verifying that said videographics program stored in said external
memory is authorized for use in the main data processor unit;


a connector, coupled to said external authenticating processor and said external memory, for interconnecting said authenticating processors and for interconnecting said external memory to said video game processor;  and


wherein said external authenticating processor includes a data transfer port for transferring data related to the results of the execution of said second predetermined authenticating program to said separate authenticating processor, whereby the
video game processor in said main video game processor unit is reset unless the results of the execution of the second authenticating program exhibit a predetermined relationship with the results of the first predetermined authenticating program.


28.  An external memory system in accordance with claim 27, wherein said external authenticating processor includes a clock signal input, coupled to said connector, for receiving clock signals from said main data processor unit, wherein said
external authenticating processor executes a plurality of instructions in response to each received clock signal.


29.  An external memory system according to claim 28, further including a frequency divider responsive to each received clock signal for generating a plurality of timing signals each of which initiates the performance of a predetermined
processing operation.


30.  An external memory system according to claim 29, wherein said external authenticating processor responds to said plurality of timing signals by receiving data from said separate authenticating processor in response to a first timing signal,
by performing predetermined arithmetic operations in response to a second timing signal and by transferring data to said separate authenticating processor in response to a third timing signal.


31.  An external memory system according to claim 27, wherein said data transfer port includes an input pin, coupled to said connector, for receiving data from said separate authenticating processor, an output pin, coupled to said connector, for
transferring data to said separate authenticating processor, and at least one reset pin for receiving a reset related signal from said separate authenticating processor, said external authenticating processor responding to said reset related signal by
maintaining a reset state or releasing the reset state depending upon the state of the reset related signal.


32.  An external system according to claim 31, wherein said external authenticating processor responds to said related reset signal from said separate authenticating processor by releasing its reset state and by synchronizing its operation with
the operation of said separate authenticating processor.


33.  An external system according to claim 27, wherein said external authenticating processor responds to a clock signal received from said main data processor unit for synchronizing its operation with the operation of said separate
authenticating processor.


34.  An external system according to claim 27, wherein said external authenticating processor includes a terminal having a predetermined voltage coupled thereto, wherein said external authenticating processor is operable to detect said
predetermined voltage and perform predetermined processing operations in response thereto.


35.  An external system according to claim 27, wherein said external authenticating processor is operable to generate at least one random number in accordance with a predetermined function.


36.  An external system according to claim 27, wherein said external authenticating processor is operable to perform predetermined processing operations in time coincidence with corresponding operations performed by said separate authenticating
processor.


37.  An external system according to claim 36 wherein said external authenticating processor is operable to output the results of said predetermined processing operations and to transfer the results to said separate authenticating processor.


38.  An external system according to claim 37, wherein said external authenticating processor is operable to receive results of corresponding processing operations performed by said separate authenticating processor and to compare its own results
with the results generated by said separate authenticating processor.


39.  In a video game processing apparatus including:


a main video data processor unit having:


a video game data processor for executing videographics programs and


a separate authenticating data processor for executing a first predetermined authenticating program;  and


an external memory system removably connected to said main video data processor unit and having:


a memory for storing at least one videographics software program to be executed by said video game data processor, and


an external authenticating processor for executing a second predetermined authenticating program;


a method of operating the external memory system and the main video data processor unit to determine the authenticity of said external memory system comprising the steps of:


connecting said external memory system to said main video data processor unit;


placing said video game data processor in a reset state;


executing said first predetermined authenticating program by said separate authenticating processor to determine the authenticity of said external memory;


executing said second predetermined authenticating program by said external authenticating processor to determine the authenticity of said external memory;


transferring data relating to the results of the execution of said second predetermined authenticating program from said external authenticating processor to said separate authenticating processor;


comparing the results of the execution of said first and second authenticating programs;


releasing said video game data processor from said reset state and executing said at least one videographics software program by said video game processor if the results of the execution of the first authenticating program exhibit a predetermined
relationship to the results of the execution of the second predetermined authenticating program;  and


maintaining said video game data processor in said reset state if the results of the execution of said first authenticating program fail to exhibit a predetermined relationship to the results of the execution of the second predetermined
relationship.


40.  A method according to claim 39 further including the step of simultaneously transmitting clock signals to said separate authenticating processor and said external authenticating processor.


41.  A method according to claim 39 further including the steps of:


inputting clock signals to said separate authenticating processor and said external authenticating processor;  and


executing a plurality of instructions in said separate authenticating processor and said external authenticating processor in response to each received clock signal.


42.  A method according to claim 41, wherein said step of executing a plurality of instructions includes the steps of:


receiving data from said separate authenticating processor in response to a first timing signal,


performing predetermined arithmetic operations in response to a second timing signal;  and


transferring data to said separate authenticating processor in response to a third timing signal.


43.  A method according to claim 39, wherein said step of transferring data includes the step of transferring data from said separate authenticating processor to said external authenticating processor and from said external authenticating
processor to said separate authenticating processor.


44.  A method according to claim 39 further including the step of synchronizing the operation of the external authenticating processor with the operation of said separate authenticating processor.


45.  A method according to claim 39 wherein said steps of executing said first and second authenticating programs each includes the step of generating at least one random number in accordance with a predetermined function.


46.  A method according to claim 45 wherein said step of generating at least one random number includes the step of storing random numbers in a memory device and reading out said random numbers in accordance with a predetermined function.


47.  A method according to claim 46, wherein each of said external authenticating processor and said separate authenticating processor reads random data generated by the other processor and performs predetermined processing operations on such
data.


48.  A method according to claim 47, wherein said predetermined processing operations performed by said external authenticating processor are performed in time coincidence with corresponding operations performed by said separate authenticating
processor.


49.  A method according to claim 47 further including the steps of outputting the results of said predetermined processing operations and transferring the results to said other processor.


50.  A method according to claim 49 further including the step of comparing the results generated by the separate authenticating data processing with the results generated by said external authenticating processor.


51.  A method according to claim 50 further including the steps of selecting further arithmetic operations to be performed by said external authenticating processor and said separate authenticating processor in response to detecting coincidence
between the results generated by said external authenticating processor and said separate authenticating processor.


52.  A method according to claim 51 further including the step of:


storing indicia representing n arithmetic operations, where n is a positive integer, in a memory device associated with each of said external authenticating processor and said separate authenticating processor, and wherein said step of selecting
includes, generating at least a first number and at least a second number, and using said at least a first number to select an arithmetic operation to be performed and using said at least a second number to define variable values for said selected
arithmetic operation.


53.  A method according to claim 51, wherein each of said external authenticating processor and said separate authenticating processor performs said further arithmetic operations and outputs a result.


54.  A method according to claim 53, wherein said further arithmetic operations performed by said external authenticating processor are performed in time coincidence with a corresponding further arithmetic operation performed by said separate
authenticating processor.


55.  A method according to claim 53, wherein said steps of executing said first and second authenticating programs each include the steps of transferring the results of said further arithmetic operations from said separate authenticating
processor to said external authenticating processor and transferring the results of said further arithmetic operations from said external authenticating processor to said separate authenticating processor.


56.  A method according to claim 55 further including the step of comparing the results of the further arithmetic operations performed by said external authenticating processor with the results of said further arithmetic operation performed by
said separate authenticating processor.


57.  A method according to claim 51 further including the step of repetitively performing said further arithmetic operations.


58.  A method according to claim 51, further including the step of counting the number of times said further arithmetic operations are repetitively performed and wherein said step of repetitively performing said further arithmetic operations is
continued until a predetermined count is reached.


59.  An external memory according to claim 16, wherein said external authenticating processing means includes means for performing further authenticating operations if said means for comparing indicates coincidence between the results generated
by said external authenticating processing means and said dedicated authenticating processing means, whereby said external authenticating processing means is operable to perform further authenticating operations at the same time said videographics
program is being executed by said video game processing means.


60.  An external memory according to claim 1, wherein said external authenticating processing means includes means for performing authenticating operations while said videographics program is being executed by said video game processing means,
whereby authenticating operations are performed during the execution of said videographics program without burdening the video game processing means.


61.  An external memory system according to claim 38, wherein said external authenticating processor is operable to execute further authenticating operations if the results generated by said external authenticating processor means and said
separate authenticating processor are identical, whereby said external authenticating processor is operable to perform further authenticating operations at the same time said videographics program is being executed by said video game processor.


62.  An external memory system according to claim 27, wherein said external authenticating processor is operable to perform authenticating operations while said videographics programs is being executed by said video game processor, whereby
authenticating operations are performed during the execution of said videographics programs without burdening the video game processor.


63.  A method according to claim 50, further including the steps of releasing said video game processor from said reset state if said results coincide and performing further authenticating operations if said results coincide at the same time said
videographics program is being executed by said video game processor.


64.  A method according to claim 39, further including the step of continuing to execute said first and second authenticating programs while said videographics program is being executed by said video game processor, whereby authenticating
operations are performed during the execution of said videographics program without burdening the video game processor.  Description  

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION


1.  Field of the Invention


The present invention relates to a system for determining authenticity of software in an information processing apparatus.  More specifically, the present invention relates to a system for determining whether software contained in an external
memory, for example, ROM cartridge, floppy disk or the like, is authorized for use with a main processor unit.


2.  Description of the Prior Art


Conventionally, such information processing apparatus are known wherein an external memory is loaded in a main processor unit and the main unit executes a predetermined program according to software contained in this external memory.  One example
of such a data processing apparatus is the "Nintendo Entertainment System (trade mark)" manufactured and sold by the assignee of the present application.  The "Nintendo Entertainment System" which embodies the present invention includes a ROM cartridge,
which is shown in the Nintendo publication distributed in the Fall of 1985 entitled "We're Changing the Face of Home Entertainment", copyright 1985.  The identical ROM cartridge also is shown in U.S.  design patent Des.  294, 020, filed Oct.  7, 1985. 
This ROM cartridge (external memory) is loaded into a front loading main processor unit (as is also shown in the 1985 Nintendo publication), the main processor unit is connected to a television receiver, and thereby various games can be enjoyed on the
screen of the television receiver.  A large number of software programs (ROM cartridges) are available for use in such, information processing apparatus.  However, such authentic software programs are subject to being imitated and counterfeited and it is
desirable to provide a system that enables data processing of only authentic program cartridges.


SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION


Therefore, a principal object of the present invention is to provide a system capable of determining authenticity of software contained in an external memory which is employed together with a main unit in an information processing apparatus.  As
used herein, authentic means that the software is genuine and authorized for use in the information processing apparatus.


Another object of the present invention is to provide a system for both determining authenticity of software contained in an external memory in an information processing apparatus and enabling data processing in accordance with such software only
when it has been determined to be authentic.


An information processing apparatus in which the present invention may be used comprises a main processor unit and an external memory removably connected to this main unit, and wherein the external memory comprises a program (software) for
operating the main unit.  Associated with external memory is an active device for determining authenticity of the software, and this active device functions as a key device.  Another active device is installed in the main unit, and this second active
device functions as a lock device.  By cooperation of the key device and the lock device, the information processing apparatus is enabled or disabled depending on the authenticity of the external memory which is installed in the main unit, and, if
enabled, the apparatus executes a predetermined information processing program according to software contained in the external memory.


In accordance with the present invention, the main processor unit is not enabled unless an authentic external memory (software) is loaded, and therefore the use of a false (not authentic) external memory can be excluded effectively.


In a preferred embodiment in accordance with the present invention, duplicate semiconductor digital processing devices are used as the key device and the lock device.  The two digital devices each execute a predetermined data processing program
in synchronism.  Then, the lock digital processing device compares the result of its processing with the result of the synchronous processing by the key device.  In accordance with this preferred embodiment, the authenticity of the software of the
external memory can be determined reliably by a simple arrangement of duplicate digital processing devices added to the main unit and the external memory, respectively. 

These objects and other objects, features, aspects and advantages of the
present invention will become more apparent from the following detailed description of the embodiments of the present invention when taken in conjunction with accompanying drawings.


BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS


FIG. 1 is a perspective view showing one example of a video game machine as one embodiment of an information processing apparatus in accordance with the present invention.


FIG. 2 is a block diagram showing a circuit configuration of this embodiment.


FIG. 3 is a block diagram showing a circuit configuration of a lock device used in the systems of FIGS. 1 and 2.


FIG. 4 is a timing chart for explaining operation of FIG. 3 device.


FIG. 5 is a flow chart for explaining the basic operation of the embodiment shown in FIG. 2.


FIG. 6 shows the physical layout of FIGS. 6A,B.


FIGS. 6A,B are flow charts for explaining operation of FIG. 2 in further detail.


FIG. 7 shows the physical layout of FIGS. 7A,B.


FIGS. 7A,B are flow charts for explaining an alternative operation of a modified embodiment of FIG. 2.


FIG. 8 is a perspective view showing another example of a video game machine as another embodiment of an information processing apparatus in accordance with the present invention.


FIG. 9 is an illustrative view showing one example of a floppy disk used for the FIG. 8 embodiment.


FIG. 10 is an illustrative view showing one example of an apparatus for reading data stored on the floppy disk of the FIG. 8 embodiment. 

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS


FIG. 1 is a perspective view showing one example of a game machine as one embodiment of the information processing apparatus in accordance with the present invention.  Hereinafter, a description of the present invention is made with reference to
the game machine shown in FIG. 1.  However, it is noted that the present invention is applicable to a variety of information processing apparatus such as a computer, word processor, banking system or the like which employs an external memory, for
example, in the form of a cartridge, floppy disk, card or the like.


A game machine 10 comprises a main processor unit 12, and user controllers 14a and 14b are connected to this main unit 12.  A cartridge 16 is loaded into the main unit 12 as an external memory.  As described in detail later, the cartridge 16
includes a ROM (Read Only Memory) storing a program written for the game machine.  The main unit 12 develops a video signal for the game in response to signals from the controllers 14a and 14b and according to the program contained in the ROM of
cartridge 16, and sends this video signal to a television 18.  The user watches the picture on the screen of the television 18, operates the controllers 14a and 14b as required, and thereby executes the game programmed in the ROM cartridge 16.


In reference to FIG. 2, a connector 20 is installed in the game machine main unit 12, and this connector 20 is engaged with a connector 22 of the cartridge 16, and thereby the main unit 12 is connected electrically to the ROM contained in
cartridge 16.


A game microprocessor 24, for example, the integrated circuit "Z80A" manufactured by Zilog, is mounted on a printed circuit board (not shown) contained in the main unit 12, and the above-described controllers 14a and 14b and TV 18 are connected
to this microprocessor 24 through an interface 26.


A PPU (picture processing unit) 28, an active semiconductor device 30 (lock) for determining the authenticity of the external ROM cartridge 16, and a clock oscillator 32 are further included in the main unit 12.  The PPU 28 is composed, for
example, of an integrated circuit "2C03" manufactured by Nintendo Co.  Ltd, Kyoto, Japan, the assignee of the present application, for outputting a video information signal processed by the game microprocessor 24 as a television signal for the TV 18.


The semiconductor device 30 (lock) is in this embodiment provided by a 4-bit microprocessor, for example, the integrated circuit "lONES" manufactured by Nintendo.  A like semiconductor device 34 (key) is mounted on a support structure, such as
the printed circuit board (not shown), of the cartridge 16.  A reset switch 36 is connected to the reset terminal R of the semiconductor device 30 (lock).  A reset capacitor 38 is further connected to the reset terminal in parallel with the reset switch
36.  The reset capacitor 38 is charged when a power switch 40 (FIG. 1) is turned on, thereby performing a so-called initial reset (power-on-clear) which keeps the semiconductor device 30 in the reset state for a predetermined time.


A ROM 42 for storing the game program (software) and a ROM 44 for generating data defining characters for the game video are mounted on the printed circuit board of the cartridge 16.  This printed circuit board of the cartridge 16 is connected
electrically to the printed circuit board of the main unit 12 through the two connectors 20 and 22 as described above.


A clock signal CL from the clock oscillator 32 is applied to semiconductor device 30 (lock) and also to the semiconductor device 34 (key) through connectors 20 and 22.


As shown in FIG. 2, a predetermined terminal of the semiconductor device 30 is grounded, while a predetermined terminal of the semiconductor device 34 is connected to a power source Vcc.  Thereby, these two semiconductor devices 34 and 30 are
differently conditioned to assume the role of a key or a lock, respectively.


In order that the two semiconductor devices 30 and 34 exchange data with each other, the respectively corresponding terminals I, O and R are connected to each other through the connectors 20 and 22.  Also, as described above, the common clock Cl
is applied to these two semiconductor devices 30 and 34 from the clock oscillator 32.  Accordingly, the two semiconductor devices 30 and 34 are operated so that the respective periods and phases of operation are synchronized completely with each other.


Further detailed description is now made of the semiconductor device 30 in reference to FIG. 3.  The semiconductor device 34 in the cartridge 16 has the same construction as device 30, and therefore corresponding numbers are shown in parenthesis
to avoid duplicate description.


As described above, the semiconductor devices 30 and 34 determined whether the cartridge 16 is authentic or not.  The functions of these two semiconductor devices 30 and 34 can be compared to the relationship between a lock and a key. 
Accordingly, in the following description, the semiconductor device 30 is called a lock device and the semiconductor device 34 is called a key device.


In reference to FIG. 3, the lock device 30 is composed, for example, of a 4-bit microprocessor, comprising a CPU 30a as a data processing means and a ROM 30b and RAM 30c as semiconductor memories.  The ROM 30b stores an operating program for the
CPU 30a, and two arithmetic routines are contained in this operating program.  Thus, a plurality of formulas and data of random numbers for arithmetic computation according to such formulas are contained in one operating program.  The operating program
also includes a program routine for comparing the computation result of the lock device 30 with the result computed by the key device 34 and vice versa, and for determining whether the results agree.  The CPU 30a of lock device 30 functions as a
determining means when these comparison and determination routines are executed.


Furthermore, a control program routine for controlling reset or release of reset of the main unit 12 based on the results of the comparison and determination program routines is contained in the operating program.


An accumulator 30d is connected to the CPU 30a.  A register 30e is connected to the ROM 30b.  This register 30e is for temporarily storing the program data accessed from the ROM 30b.  Furthermore, a frequency divider 30f for receiving the clock
signal CL from the clock oscillator 32 (FIG. 2) and dividing the frequency thereof is installed in the lock device 30, and the ratio of frequency division of the frequency divider 30f is set, for example, to 1/4.  The CPU 30a executes sequential program
steps in response to signals of respective phases .phi.1, .phi.2, .phi.3 and .phi.4 from the frequency divider 30f.


The CPU 30a, the accumulator 30d and the register 30e are connected by a data bus 30g.  This data bus 30g is connected to an I/O port 30h, data is outputted from the I/O port 30h to the key device 34, and data from the key device 34 is received
through the I/O port 30h.  Furthermore, two reset signals RESET 1 and RESET 2 are outputted from the I/O port 30h.  The reset signal RESET 1 is given to the key device 34 to reset it.  The reset signal RESET 2 is given to the game microprocessor 24 and
the PPU 28 which are contained in the main unit 12 to reset them.  In order to release the reset states of the key device 34 and the main unit 12, these reset signals RESET 1 and RESET 2 have only to assume the opposite (inverse) state.


Next, a brief description is made on operation of the frequency divider 30f in reference to FIG. 4.  As described above, the frequency divider 30f divides the frequency of the clock CL from the clock oscillator 32 by 1/4.  Accordingly, four
signals .phi.1, .phi.2, .phi.3 and .phi.4 having different phases respectively are obtained from the frequency divider 30f.  These signals .phi.1-.phi.4 are given to the CPU 30a.  The CPU 30a performs operations in sequence in synchronism with these four
signals .phi.1-.phi.4.  For example, data from the I/O port 30h is read in synchronism with the signal .phi.1, and predetermined arithmetic operations (data processing) are performed in response to the signals .phi.2 and .phi.3.  Then, data from the I/O
port 30h is outputted by the final signal .phi.4.


Meanwhile, these signals .phi.1-.phi.4 are given also to the key device 34, and accordingly, the lock device 30 and the key device 34 are operated in complete synchronism with each other.  Specifically, the lock device 30 and the key device 34
have the same number of steps in their operating programs and have the same architecture, including the same hardware and the same clock, and therefore the respective processing cycles coincide completely.  Next, a brief description is made of the
operation of the embodiment with reference to FIG. 5.  Afterwards, a more detailed description of the operation is made with reference to FIG. 6.


First, the cartridge 16 is loaded into the main unit 12, and the power switch 40 (FIG. 1) of the main unit 12 is turned on to start the operation (step S1).  In the following step S2, the lock device 30 outputs the reset signal RESET 2 and resets
the game microprocessor 24 and the PPU 38 comprised in the main unit 12, holding this state.  Thus, no game can be played when the main unit 12 is reset.


Next, in step S3, the lock device 30 is synchronized with the key device 34.  A method of synchronization thereof is described in reference to FIG. 4.  The machine cycle of the lock device 30 is set so that the reset signal RESET 1 given to the
key device 34 from the lock device 30 is outputted between signal .phi.4 of certain period of the clock CL and the signal .phi.1 of the next period.  Consequently, the signal .phi.1 is first inputted without fail to the key device 34.  Consequently, the
key device 34 can start operation from the same machine cycle .phi.1 as that of the lock device 30.  Thus, in step S3 the lock device 30 is synchronized with the key device 34, and thereafter the respective devices 30 and 34 execute predetermined
operations in complete synchronization.


Next, in step S4, predetermined arithmetic operations are performed respectively by the lock device 30 and the key device 34.  At this time, the arithmetic operation performed by the lock device 30 and the arithmetic operation performed by the
key device 34 are the same.  Accordingly, if the cartridge 16 is authentic, the results of the two arithmetic operations performed in this step S4 will be the same.


In step S5, the above-described results of the operations are transferred mutually between the lock device 30 and the key device 34.  Then, in step S6, the lock device 30 and the key device 34 compare these two arithmetic operation results
respectively.  In step S7, if it is determined that these two results coincide (agree, then) in step S8, the lock device 30 releases the reset signals RESET 1 and RESET 2, releasing the reset states of the key device 34 and the main unit 12.


Conversely, in step S7, if it is determined that the results do not coincide, then in step S9, the lock device 30 continues to output the reset signals RESET 1 and RESET 2, and accordingly, the reset states of the key device 34 and the main unit
12 are continued.  The operator cannot play the game in this reset state.


Next, further detailed description of the operation is made with reference to FIG. 6.  In reference to FIG. 6, if the cartridge 15 is loaded into the main unit 12 and the power switch 40 (FIG. 1) of the main unit 12 is turned on or the reset
switch 36 is turned on, the resetting operation of the lock device 30 is performed, and this lock device 30 starts its operating sequence at step S10.


In the following step S11, the lock device 30 determines whether it functions as the lock or as the key.  As explained in FIG. 2, this determination is performed by detecting whether the predetermined terminal is grounded or connected to the
power source Vcc.  In this case, the lock device 30 is determined to function as the lock, but in the case where the determination indicates a key function, for example, due to wiring error, malfunction or the like, an unstable state takes place and no
operations are performed at all.


In step S11, when "YES" is determined, in step S12, the lock device 30 outputs the reset signal RESET 2 so that the main unit 12 cannot execute the game program, and the reset state of the main unit 12 is continued.  The game microprocessor 24
and the PPU 28 (FIG. 2) are forced to the reset state and disabled until the reset is released in the later-described step S21.  And, in this step S12, the reset signal RESET 1 is also outputted to reset the key device 34.


In the next step S13, the lock device 30 releases the reset state of the key device 34, and synchronizes the two devices 30 and 34 with each other as in the above-described step S3 (FIG. 5).  Thereby, the two devices 30 and 34 are synchronized
with each other, and thereafter the respective devices execute sequential program steps in complete synchronism.


When the reset state of the key device 34 is released in step S13, the key device 34 determines whether it functions as the lock or as the key in the next step S11'.  The determination in this step S11' can be made by detecting whether the
predetermined terminal of the key device 34 is grounded or connected to the power source Vcc as in the above-described step S11', an unstable state takes place and no operations are performed at all.


When "YES" is determined in step S11', then the operations in the following step S14' and the steps thereafter are executed.


On the other hand, in the lock device 30, the operations in step S14 and thereafter are executed after the step S13 is executed.  Accordingly, in the lock device 30 and the key device 34, the very same operations are performed in synchronism,
that is, in coincidence as a function of time.


First, the lock device 30 and the key device 34 output data representing random numbers from the respective program ROMs 30b and 34b (FIG. 3) in step S14 and in step S14'.  Output of these random number data is performed using the very same
random function.  Also, the conditions determining operation of the random function are the same for the two devices 30 and 34.  Accordingly, when the cartridge is authentic, the data of random numbers generated in the lock device 30 and the data of
random numbers generated in the key device 34 should be the same.


Next, in steps S15 and S15', the lock device 30 and the key device 34 exchange data with each other, and read the data of random numbers generated by the counterpart, respectively.  Then, in steps S16 and S16', the devices 30 and 34 perform the
predetermined data processes or arithmetic operations based on the data of random numbers inputted from the counterpart.  The arithmetic operations formula used for the first arithmetic operation in these steps S16 and S16' is the same in the two devices
30 and 34, and therefore the results of these operations become the same when the inputted data of random numbers are the same.  Then, in steps S17 and S17', the lock devices 30 and the key device 34 output the results of arithmetic operations to the
counterpart, respectively.  Responsively, in steps S18 and S18', the two devices 30 and 34 mutually receive the results of arithmetic operation outputted from the counterpart.  In this case, the lock device 30 and the key device 34 perform the same
operation at the same timing, and therefore the results of operation from the counterpart are received at the same timing.  Accordingly, in this embodiment, both coincidence of the results of arithmetic operations and coincidence of time that results are
received are taken into account to determine authenticity of the cartridge.


Next, in step S19, the lock device 30 compares the result of its arithmetic operation against the result of operation produced by the key device 34, determining whether or not they coincide.  As a result of this comparison, if "NO" is determined
in step S20, the lock device 30 in step S22 holds the reset state of each circuit in the main unit 12, namely, the game microprocessor 24 and the PPU 28.  Thereby, the main unit 12 is prevented from executing the game program.


Meanwhile, an alarm may be generated in response to a determination of non-coincidence instead of maintaining a hold of the reset states, or the processing may return to the initial state, namely, the step S11.


As a result of the comparison in step S19, if "YES" is determined in step S20, the lock device 30 releases the reset states of these circuits, namely, the game micro-processor 24 and the PPU 28 in the next step S21.


Subsequently, in step S23, the lock device 30 generates two data groups, a first and a second, of random numbers based on predetermined random function.  Then, in step S24, the lock device 30 selects the kind of arithmetic operation formula using
the second data of random numbers, and sets the first data of random numbers as the values to be substituted into the arithmetic operation formula.  More specifically, in this embodiment, n (positive integer) kinds of arithmetic operation formulas are
set in advance in the arithmetic operation program in the ROM 30b (FIG. 3), and from among these, an arithmetic operation formula is selected in response to the second data of random numbers.  Subsequently, in step S25, the selected arithmetic operation
is executed using the first and the second data of random numbers.


Operations in these steps S19-S25 are also performed in the same manner at the same timing in the key device 34.  Then, the same random function for generating the first and the second data of random numbers as that used for the lock device 30 is
also used in the case of key device 34.  Also, conditions for the random function for generating the first and the second data of random numbers is the same for the lock device 30 and the key device 34 as described above.  Accordingly, if the cartridge
16 is authentic, the same arithmetic operation formula is selected for the two devices 30 and 34, and the results of these arithmetic operations should be the same.


Next, in step S26, the lock device 30 passes the results of the arithmetic operation performed in step S25 to the key device 34, and also receives the results of the arithmetic operation performed by the key device 34.  A similar operation is
performed in the key device 34.  Next, in step S27 and S28, the lock device 30 compares and checks the results of the arithmetic operation by itself against the results of the arithmetic operation received from the key device 34 and determines whether or
not they agree, i.e., coincide with each other.


If the cartridge 16 loaded in the main unit 12 is not authentic, the results of the arithmetic operations do not coincide, and therefore, in this case, the lock device 30, in step S29, outputs the reset signal RESET 2, maintaining the game
microprocessor 24 and the PPU 28 of the main unit 12 in the reset state to stop their operations.


On the other hand, when the lock device 30 determines that the result of the arithmetic operation by itself and the result of the arithmetic operation received from the key device 34 coincide with each other, processing returns again to step S24,
and thereafter the operations in steps S24-S28 are repeated.  In other words, in this embodiment, as long as the main unit 12 is operated, the second arithmetic operation program in steps S24-S28 are executed repeatedly, and when a non-coincidence of the
results of the arithmetic operations occurs even once, step S29 is executed and operation of the main unit 12 is stopped.


In addition, the same operations as those in steps S26-S29 are performed in the key device 34.  However, the key device 34 has no effect on resetting and releasing each circuit of the main unit 12 This is because no reset signal is outputted to
the main unit 12 from the key device 34.


As for the operation of the key device 34 corresponding to step S29, since chip-select terminal is normally installed in the ROMs 42 and 44 (FIG. 2), this chip-select terminal may be disabled.  When the chip-select terminal is disabled, the game
microprocessor 24 and the PPU 28 of the main unit 12 cannot access these ROMs 42 and 44, and therefore continuation of the game operation becomes impossible.


Determination of authenticity of the external memory cartridge can be made only by checking the results of the first arithmetic operations in step S16 and step S16', but also in the above-described embodiment, the second arithmetic operations and
determination of the results thereof in steps S24-S28 are performed repeatedly as long as the main unit 12 is operated, and therefore the determination of authenticity of the cartridge 16 can be made nearly certain.  Accordingly, in the case where a
cartridge containing ROMs that are non-authentic copies of the ROMs 42 and 44 in the cartridge 16 or a cartridge containing ROMs storing similar programs are used, the software protection scheme cannot be defeated unless the same hardware as provided in
the key device 34 is employed.  Also, by using devices such as custom ICs or the like which are difficult to obtain normally, such a protection can be made more complete.


Thus, the protection of programs (software) contained in the cartridge 16 can be made complete by installing the key device 34 for determining the authenticity of the cartridge 16 and determining how it cooperates with the lock device 30 of the
main unit 12, and accordingly any copied or forged cartridge, that is, a cartridge other than an authentic one is blocked from operating in unit 12.


FIG. 7 is a flow chart showing a modified example of FIG. 6.  Nearly the same hardware as the embodiment in FIG. 6 is employed in this embodiment, and for this FIG. 7 embodiment, though not illustrated, a counter is formed in the RAM 30c of the
lock device 30 and the RAM 34c of the key device 34 (FIG. 3), respectively.  Then, by utilizing this counter, the second arithmetic operation is repeated a predetermined number of times set by this counter.


The operations in steps S110-S120 and S111'-119' of this FIG. 7 embodiment are the same as those in steps S10-S20 and S11'-S19' (in FIG. 6), and therefore duplicate description is omitted here.


If a coincidence of the results of the first arithmetic operations is determined in step S120, in FIG. 7 embodiment, the counter formed in the RAM 30c of the lock device 30 is reset in step S121.  The second arithmetic operation is executed in
the following steps S123-S128 likewise in steps S23-S28 in FIG. 6.  Then, if a coincidence of the results of the two arithmetic operations is determined in step S128, the lock device 30 increments the counter (not illustrated) formed in the RAM 30c in
the next step S130.  Then, in the next step S131, determination is made of whether or not the value of the counter is the predetermined value.  If the counted value of the counter does not reach the Predetermined value, the lock device 30 repeats steps
S123-S130.


Then, if "YES" is determined in step S131, that is, if the second arithmetic operation is repeated by the predetermined number of times, the lock device 30 releases the reset states of the game microprocessor 24 and the PPU 28 of the main unit 12
in step S132 as in step S21 in FIG. 6.


In addition, in the embodiment in FIG. 7, the second arithmetic operation is performed repeatedly by the predetermined number of times in steps S123-S131, wherein the number of times may be one.


If the results of the first arithmetic operations in steps S114-S116 coincide, the main unit 12 is enabled immediately, and thereafter the second arithmetic operation as shown in steps S123-S131 is repeated When "NO" is determined in step S128
during the repetition, the main unit 12 is disabled, and if non-coincidence does not occur by repeating the second arithmetic operation, thereafter the main unit 12 may remain enabled until the power switch 40 (FIG. 1) of the main unit 12 is turned off.


Furthermore, steps S22 and S29 in FIG. 6 and steps S122 and S129 in FIG. 7 may be modified as follows.  Black screen data for wholly blackening the screen of the television receiver 18 and title data for displaying a game title are stored in
advance in the ROM 42 of the cartridge 16.  Then, in the above-described step S22 or S29 and step S122 or S129, a pulse-reset signal is outputted from the lock device 30, and thereby the black screen and the title screen are displayed repeatedly in
alternating fashion.  Thereby the operator is informed that the cartridge 16 is not authentic


In addition, the ROM cartridge 16 is used for an external memory in the above-described embodiment.  However, for external memory, a magnetic memory, for example, floppy disk, magnetic card or an optical memory, for example, optical disk or the
like may be used in place of cartridge 16.


FIG. 8 is a perspective view showing another embodiment in accordance with the present invention.  This embodiment employs a floppy disk for an external memory.  In the configuration of FIG. 1 embodiment, the floppy disk cannot be employed
without modification, and therefore in the FIG. 8 embodiment, an adapter 46 is used which has the same shape as that of the cartridge 16 (FIG. 1) and is made attachable and detachable to the main unit 12.  A disk reader 48 is connected to this adapter
46.  Then, a floppy disk 50 is loaded in this reader 48.  Accordingly, the program (software) written in advance to the floppy disk 50 is read by the reader 48, and it is sent to the main unit 12 through the adapter 46.


As shown in FIG. 9, the floppy disk 50 comprises a case 52 and disc-shaped magnetic sheet 54 supported rotatably in the case 52.  Then, the key device 34 and an electrode 56 for connecting the key device 34 are formed in the case 52.


As shown in FIG. 9, inside the reader 48 receiving such a floppy disk 50, a disk driver 58 is accommodated and also a contact 60 connected to the electrode 56 is installed.  Accordingly, the key device 34 installed in the case 52 of floppy disk
50 is connected to the lock device 30 of the main unit 12 through the electrode 56 and the contact 60.


In the embodiment in FIG. 8, operation is executed following the program as shown in FIG. 6 or 7 by cooperation of the lock device 30 (FIG. 2) comprised in the main unit 12 and the key device 34 in the floppy disk 50, and thereby determination is
made whether or not the floppy disk 50 is authentic.


Meanwhile, the lock device 30 (FIG. 2) may be installed in the reader 48, not in the main unit 12.  In this case, the reset signal will be given to the main unit 12 from the reader 48.


Furthermore, in the case where a memory means is comprised in the apparatus itself which is connected to the adapter 46, for example, in the case where a sound source apparatus comprising a synthesizer ROM or the like is connected, the key device
34 is installed in the adapter 46, and the operation in FIG. 6 or FIG. 7 may be executed by this key device 34 and the lock device 30 built in the main unit 12.


In addition, in the above-described embodiment, microprocessors are employed for the lock device 30 and the key device 34.  However, for these devices 30 and 34, simpler digital arithmetic operation devices may be employed, and further more
analog processors may be employed which perform analog processing in place of digital processing.  Also, a digital circuit may be employed in either of the lock device 30 and the key device 34 and an analog circuit in the other device.


In the case where the analog circuit is employed, various configurations can be utilized other than the above-described analog processor.  For example, determination of the authenticity of the external memory (software) may be performed by a
coincidence of frequencies of the clock CL converted by both the lock device and the key device following the same program.  Furthermore, pulse signals are outputted from the lock device 30 and the key device 34, and the duty ratio of the pulse signals
is converted according to a predetermined program, and thereby authenticity can be determined by a coincidence of the duty ratios.  Or, for example, determination may be made by a coincidence of levels of integrations of the same saw-tooth waves, and
further deferential may be used.  Or, authenticity of the external memory can be determined by determining coincidence of the results of analog processes performed by the two devices.


Although the present invention has been described and illustrated in detail, it is clearly understood that the same is by way of illustration and example only and is not to be taken by way of limitation, the spirit and scope of the present
invention being limited only by the terms of the appended claims.


* * * * *























				
DOCUMENT INFO
Description: 1. Field of the InventionThe present invention relates to a system for determining authenticity of software in an information processing apparatus. More specifically, the present invention relates to a system for determining whether software contained in an externalmemory, for example, ROM cartridge, floppy disk or the like, is authorized for use with a main processor unit.2. Description of the Prior ArtConventionally, such information processing apparatus are known wherein an external memory is loaded in a main processor unit and the main unit executes a predetermined program according to software contained in this external memory. One exampleof such a data processing apparatus is the "Nintendo Entertainment System (trade mark)" manufactured and sold by the assignee of the present application. The "Nintendo Entertainment System" which embodies the present invention includes a ROM cartridge,which is shown in the Nintendo publication distributed in the Fall of 1985 entitled "We're Changing the Face of Home Entertainment", copyright 1985. The identical ROM cartridge also is shown in U.S. design patent Des. 294, 020, filed Oct. 7, 1985. This ROM cartridge (external memory) is loaded into a front loading main processor unit (as is also shown in the 1985 Nintendo publication), the main processor unit is connected to a television receiver, and thereby various games can be enjoyed on thescreen of the television receiver. A large number of software programs (ROM cartridges) are available for use in such, information processing apparatus. However, such authentic software programs are subject to being imitated and counterfeited and it isdesirable to provide a system that enables data processing of only authentic program cartridges.SUMMARY OF THE INVENTIONTherefore, a principal object of the present invention is to provide a system capable of determining authenticity of software contained in an external memory which is employed together with a main unit in an inform